Research problem

The currently watched mass-scale dying of spruce stands in the Western Beskidy Mountains is not a new problem. Similar disasters have occurred over the last decades not only in the Sudety Mountains but also in other regions of Europe. Although the reasons for the disasters were not always the same, the final effects were similar everywhere: tree stands on large areas became destroyed over a short period of time, and as a consequence, the planned forest management faced enormous problems not to mention negative consequences for the nature and the society.

Although there have been numerous attempts to analyse similar phenomena thoroughly, and hundreds of scientific studies have been published so far, foresters have never gained a good insight into a complex dying process of spruce stands while it is happening. It is also worth mentioning that the ecological disaster in the forests of the Sudety Mountains has not been explained clearly enough yet neither has any of the scientific centres indicated which factor plays the major role in the dying process of tree stands.

The technologies we have at our disposal today offer a possibility to solve the problem with the use of durable and unique ‘digital casts and models’ of dynamic deforestation processes in further mountainous areas. Nowhere in the world have aerial photograps, satellite photographs, field scannning and aerial scanning, measurements on circular areas, measurements at meteorological stations and dendrochronology ever been used to try to make a simulation of further scenario or danger of a new ecological disaster.

Thanks to the use of neuron networks and the creation of an expert’s system, such a broad range of analysed information can be a turning point in the understanding of the dying process of tree stands and make it possible to return to the planned forest management. The observations will also help to broaden the forest knowledge about the dying process of spruce stands on large areas caused by biotic, abiotic and anthropogenic factors.